Heritage Clubs International, the foremost bank marketing organization in North America, provides education, networking, and innovative travel resources for its members to become the most knowledgeable and successful professionals in their field.  

                                                                                  2022 PEER GROUP CONFERENCE

The 2022 Peer Group conference was hosted by Visit Quad Cities February 21-25.  The Bend XPO in East Moline, Illinois hosted the conference events, and we stayed nearby in the Hyatt Place hotel on the Mississippi River. The Pre-Fam and Sightseeing Tours showcased the beauty, history and industry of this region with various stops over three days. Cammie Pohl was a very knowledgeable guide.

Our host - Nicki Brus with Visit Quad Cities - worked tirelessly from the site inspection in the fall to the pre-fam and sightseeting tour to the clean up and ever-change airport transfers.  Her knowledge, experience and connections enabled her to create a fabulous conference experience with amazing speakers and entertainment throughout the week.  We are indebted to Nicki for her efforts to bring the 2022 Peer Group conference to the Quad Cities!

We welcomed 16 first-time attendees - 6 Bankers, 2 PTOs and 8 Travel Partners. 

Becky Anderson

Washington County Bank

Tekamah, NE

Brecka Byers

D.L. Evans Bank

Boise, ID

Nancy George

Central Bank

Sioux City, IA

Andrea Griffin

First National Bank of Griffin

Griffin, GA

Katie Harris

Hills Bank and Trust

Hills, IA

Rachel Jesky

Home State Bank

Crystal Lake, IL

Lora Carlson


Anita Root

Go Next Inc

Becky Carkeek

Travel Dubuque

Caitlyn Floyd

Visit Champaign County

Valerie Hill

Dutton Family Theater/Inn Complex

Lori Johnson

Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Kerstin Landwer

Visit Joplin MO

Kate Meehan

Heritage Corridor Destinations

Angela Tormey

DuPage Convention and Visitors

Liz Vincent

City of Pontiac

This conference marked the much-anticipated return to an in-person gathering, and with everyone vaccinated, tested and socially distanced, Mayflower Cruises and Tours kicked off the conference with a fun river-themed game of music trivia. Captain Sherri and DJ Kent had us rocking and rolling as we worked together to come up with the answers to win fabulous (and some not-so fabulous!) prizes.  Brenda Reicks from F&M Community Bank in Preston, Minnesota won a grand-prize trip that Mayflower Cruises and Tours gave away as part of their sponsored event.  The first day ended with a delicious meal and delightful speaker - Lora Carlson - from our our long-time PTO and regular sponsor, Collette.  We had a very full first day and a half with all of the PTO showcases, several educational sessions and networking until the Partners joined us for dinner out on Tuesday evening.  Nicki Brus of Visit Quad Cities hosted an incredible night of art appreciation and dancing to great music at the Figge Art Museum.  It was a great way to reconnect with each other in a casual setting over cocktails, dinner and fun entertainment.

Wednesday was dedicated to the Business Appointment Marketplace (BAM).  The Bankers were able to meet with every Partner and PTO in attendance, as well as 4 Partners who were able to meet virtually even though bad weather kept them away. Afterward we got some exercise when Lisa Thompson from Wamego, Kansas, led us in some line-dancing fun.  Our day concluded with a wonderful reception and dinner sponsored by eight Partners who represented Tour Illinois - Quad Cities, Chicago Southland, Aurora, Pontiac, Lake County, Champaign County, DuPage and Heritage Corridor.  They gave away prizes and brought in a comedic magician who kept us laughing and bewildered all evening with his engaging and entertaining performance.  

Our two other conference sponsors also provided some good fun during our lunches on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Ted Nelson with Hospitality Tours provided a fun and educational trivia game that featured his co-sponsor Atlantic Canada - New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia.  Jim Coggin from Virginia Beach and Dana Howe from Visit Norfolk teamed up again this year and sponsored the lunch on Wednesday.  They featured the Virginia International Tattoo and brought in a bagpiper to give us a taste of this spectacular event.  They also had us passing prizes back and forth around the tables with a fun mental stroll around their cities until the lucky winners were the ones left holding the bags - literally!

Of course, the conference included many education sessions because the goal of HCI is for our members to be the most knowledgeable and successful professionals in their field.  This year our PTOs played a prominent role in the education sessions as each PTO had a representative give a presentation.

Jim Edward from Collette: Travel Trends
Anita Root from GoNext: Constant Communication
Ted Nelson from Hospitality Tours: Negotiating Ethically
Sherri Guiborat from Mayflower Cruises & Tours: Marketing Tips

We also had three keynote speakers this year. Greg Turner from MidWestOne Bank in Dubuque shared his insights on Banking Trends from his 25 years of banking experience. Dustin James encouraged us to not be the "A-word" - Average; but reminded us that we are all AMAZING and gave us tips to help us live with excellence everyday. Haley DeGreve of The Gray Matters taught us how important brain health is and how to identify mental illness in ourselves and others.

We were pleased to recognize Shelly Morey of Community National Bank in Newport, Vermont who earned her Certified Bank Club Director (CBCD) designation.  Congratulations to Shelly on her tremendous accomplishment!

We also said farewell to Rick Pharr who announced his retirement at the end of this year.

Allison Whalen was re-elected as the Chair of the Advisory Board.  We welcomed several new board members: Melody Beecham of Hometown Bank of Corbin (KY); Connie Francis from MidWestOne Bank in Dubuque, IA; Jim Coggin from the Virginia Beach CVB and Jayne Nordstrom from Visit Lake County, IL. Sherri Guiborat from Mayflower Cruises & Tours is returning to the board once again this year. Check out the full board membership when you log in to HCI's site.

We want to recognize the 2022 Peer Group sponsors because we could not do it without you.  Thank you!

Wednesday Reception & Dinner
Wednesday Reception & Dinner
Monday Reception & Dinner
Wednesday Reception & Dinner
Conference Bags
Wednesday Reception & Dinner
Tuesday Lunch

Opening Ceremonies
Wednesday Reception & Dinner
BAM Refreshments
Wednesday Lunch
Wednesday Reception & Dinner
Wednesday Reception & Dinner
Wednesday Lunch
2022 Conference Host, Transportation, Pre-FAM & Sightseeing Tours, Tuesday & Wednesday Reception & Dinner

"The HCI Conference was fantastic! I had an amazing time and learned so much, thank you!"
                                                                                                            -Brecka Byers
                                                                                                             D.L. Evans Bank, Boise, ID

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